Department of Communication
Room: E 226
by arrangement via mail.
Department of Communication
Room: E 226
by arrangement via mail.
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Quandt, * 1971, is a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Münster.
He was holding the Chair of Online Communication and Interactive Media at the University of Hohenheim from 2009-2012, where he also served as the Director of the Institute of Communication Studies in 2012. From 2007-2008, he was an Assistant Professor of journalism research at the Free University Berlin, where he also served as a Guest Professor in 2006. Furthermore, he has been working as a lecturer and researcher at various other universities, including the LMU Munich, the Berlin University of the Arts, and the Technical University Ilmenau. He was also a visiting professor at Stanford University, the University of Oxford, the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and a visiting scholar at the Indiana University, Bloomington.
He (co)published more than 200 scientific articles and several books. His work was awarded with several scientific prizes, including various Top Paper Awards and the dissertation award of the DGPuK. Quandt is a Fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA).
His research and teaching fields include online communication, media innovation research, digital games and journalism.
In the ongoing social debate about social issues, hashtag campaigns such as #metoo or #blacklivesmatter have gained massive importance in recent years. They draw attention to a socially relevant problem (such as sexism or racism) and position it as a social issue. This social issue is shared (using hashtags) on social media and spreads virally. Once the social issue has gone viral, it attracts the attention of traditional media, which make the addressed social problem accessible to a broad public and to the discourse of society. This process is called social issue emergence (SIE) and takes place in the hybrid media system with interaction between analog and digital media logic. But what are the dynamics behind this process? To what extent can actors control and influence the career of a social issue? And what role does the seemingly uncontrolled viral spread of social issues play? The goal of the project is to develop a model based on theoretical and empirical findings that can be used to reconstruct, simulate, understand, and predict the dynamics of social issue emergence.
In light of recent crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the investigation of online groups that disseminate conspiracy theories and oppose the social mainstream is of great importance. These movements range from harmless, esoteric groups to overtly anti-democratic movements that exploit social issues and adopt them into a collective ideology, with religion frequently serving as a basis for argumentation. The internet's networking capabilities facilitate these movements' recruitment and mobilization, as well as their interaction with the broader society. Religious elements often play a significant role, with differing and sometimes opposing ideologies being conflated.
This project aims to examine online networked ideological movements with religious overtones. Initially, a theoretical foundation will be established, and new ideological movements will be mapped empirically in order to explore the content dimensions of conspiracy theories and disinformation disseminated online, as well as associated recruitment and mobilization attempts, and the interconnections at the personal and content levels. The project will also require the methodological further development of established practices of text and network analysis.
Disinformation has been the focus of research and public debate for some time. Incidents such as the manipulation of journalistic forums during the early days of the Ukraine conflict, the suspected influence of disinformation in the Brexit referendum, or the use of automated communication in the 2016 U.S. election have drawn public and political attention to the issue. This leads to the central question: How do disinformation campaigns behind all these incidents work?
Since the above-mentioned events, research has increasingly focused on automated communication, fake news and hate speech, and how to detect them. Many citizens face these phenomena on a daily basis. The intensive study of disinformation strategies has revealed that, in addition to automated communication, there are sometimes covert aspects and actors that make a disinformation campaign powerful in the first place. In order to identify, understand, and combat the sometimes concerted disinformation campaigns, it is also necessary to take into account human actors, content, and timing.
While smartphones play a central role in students' everyday lives, their use in the classroom is viewed critically. Nevertheless, targeted use for learning purposes could bring positive effects in terms of learning success and motivation. The question of how smartphones could be advantageously integrated into school lessons is still largely unanswered. The project therefore investigates the conditions for the successful use of smartphones in mathematics and science lessons.
PropStop is a project funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) that aims at studying hidden propaganda disseminations via online media, in order to identify and prove accordant attempts. Throughout the project an interdisciplinary team of statisticians, communication scientists, IT-security researchers, journalists and IT-security companies works together. Besides a large-scale examination of propaganda characteristics online, huge quantities of public opinion statements in different areas of the digital public sphere will be analyzed for repeated semantic and technical patterns. The insights gained throughout the project will be used to enhance our detection of massive, hidden propaganda attacks, to develop technologies to identify these attacks, and to improve our abilities to verify propaganda attacks. Real-time simulations of massive hidden propaganda attacks will provide meaningful insights into the transdisciplinary applicability of the gained findings.
Groundbreaking technologies change not only our daily lives and habits but also affect our perceptions, feelings, communication structures, and self image. Never before, however, has the discussion of the impact of a technological development on mental health been as intense as it has been since the introduction of the internet. One would expect psychiatric experts to take the lead in this discussion. At present, most of the commentary by psychiatrists and psychologists seems to be as influenced by their own attitudes towards modern technology as it is by empirical data and scientific insight. There are reasons for this. While one need not look far for inflammatory discussions of „internet addiction,“ a scientific debate amongst psychiatric professionals on this topic is seldom to be found. Despite the fact that many of the accusations found in the media about internet use can be disproven, they continue to enjoy great popularity.
The research training group examines how trust can be developed and maintained under the conditions of new forms of communication. Digitized means of communication change the structure and sustainability of trust because firstly, familiar face-to-face communication is replaced by digitized interactions, secondly, virtual social and office networks emerge and finally, because new forms of relationships between the public, organisations and individuals develop. The postgraduate programme analyses the consequences of these processes for the establishment of trust relationships by the example of four prototypical areas: media, economy, science and sports.
Through social media applications such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs, the opportunities for public communication have expanded. Journalistic "gatekeeper" on the Internet are no longer the central mediator of topics and opinions. The goal of the project network is to develop an automated analysis process and evaluate it. The process should be implemented in the form of tools for the analysis of online discourses.
The reviewers and the expert panel ranked the five year project, The Social Fabric of Virtual Life: A Longitudinal Multi-Method Study on the Social Foundations of Online Gaming (SOFOGA) as being "outstanding" – the highest evaluation given. Starting in January 2010 a broad analysis of the real-world and game-world experiences of online gamers will be made possible with the support of the ERC. This multi-method project, with a dedicated six-member research team, will be implemented at the Universität Münster.
The project aims to analyze the phenomenon of cyberbullying, especially looking at its influencing factors, its patterns and its effects on adolescents. Following a multi-level approach, not only the personal level but also structural and systematical factors will be considered. In a longitudinal perspective, dynamics of the cyberbullying process will be analyzed.